How Long Do Potatoes Last Before They Get Rotten Or Spoiled?
Potatoes are the number one most bought vegetables. First, they are relatively cheap. Second, they pack in a lot of nutritional value. Lastly, they can be cooked in a variety of ways. You can find potatoes at any time of the year.
There is not a day that McDonald’s does not have French fries. Potatoes have become a comfort food for us. I would love to stock up on potatoes but how long do potatoes last before they get rotten or spoiled? I do not want to end up with rotten potatoes. Neither do I want to serve my family with spoiled potatoes.
There are a lot of potato varieties available in the United States. Potatoes used for cooking though come in six types: Blue, Fingerling, Red, Russet, Yellow and White. Each type of potato has their own cooking methods where there taste and flavor can be fully maximized.
So, now, how long do potatoes last before they get rotten or spoiled? There are several considerations that affect how long potatoes last after their sell date (the last day food can be sold on the shelves; the shelf life of food at the store): the potato itself, storage, the cooking method and humidity.
After their sell date, potatoes are still safe for consumption but no longer safe to sell. For potatoes to last long they can be stored either in the pantry, the refrigerator or the freezer. This is of course assumed that potatoes were bought before their sell date.
In the Pantry
As a general rule, potatoes will last for about 2-3 weeks in the pantry under normal room temperature. To be more specific, Russet and White potatoes can last for between 3-5 weeks; red potatoes and fingerlings for 2-3 weeks; Potatoes however can last up to 2-3 months given these storage conditions:
- Store potatoes in a container that will allow for good air circulation (in a basket).
- If storing potatoes in the plastic you bought them with, make sure there are perforations and only loosely tie the top.
- Avoid storing potatoes beside onions. Chemical reaction will cause them both to rot fast.
- Avoid storing potatoes beside fruits. Most fruits release ethylene (chemical which makes fruits ripen fast). Fruits get ripe fast when they are stored close to each other. Same thing happens when potatoes are stored near fruits.
- Store potatoes in the coolest and darkest place. When stored in a warm place potatoes will sprout and go bad.
- Store different types of potatoes in separate containers. Some types of potatoes have shorter shelf lives and storing them together will affect potatoes that have longer life spans.
In the Refrigerator
When stored in the fridge, potatoes will generally be good and safe for consumption after 3-4 weeks. Russet and white potatoes stay good in the fridge for 3-5 weeks; red potatoes and fingerlings for 2-3 weeks. Cooked directly out of the fridge however will cause the potatoes to have a sweeter taste. It will tend to darken, too.
To avoid those things from happening remove the potatoes from the fridge and store at room temperature before cooking. If the potatoes have already been cut, they will still be good for cooking within 24 hours as long as they are submerged in cold water and covered. Cooked potatoes will still be consumable after 3-5 days in the fridge.
In the Freezer
It is not wise to store raw potatoes in the freezer. If you want potatoes to stay long in the freezer, they should first be cooked. When cooked, potatoes can be stored for up to 10-12 months in the freezer. The best way to cook potatoes for freezer storage is to boil them peeled until tender, mashed and placed in freezer bags.
Are they Rotten or Spoiled?
There are visible signs to tell you that your potatoes have gotten rotten and spoiled. There too are instances when potatoes look good from the outside but are rotten and spoiled inside.
- Wrinkled and sagging skin.
- Soft and discolored.
- Color starts turning green.
- Bitter smell.
- Has molds.
- Sprouts start to appear.
While potatoes will last long when stored well, the condition of the potatoes when you bought them have a lot to do with how long they will last. The first thing to look for is the sell date.
Although supermarkets are careful to pull out fresh food items on or before their sell dates, human error can always happen. With that done, a physical inspection of the potatoes should be done. This is to ensure that you are buying potatoes in their best qualities.
- Choose potatoes with smooth and firm skins without any scars and blotches. (Never choose potatoes with sprouts, dark spots, sagging skin and cuts).
- Choose potatoes that are clean but have not been washed. Washed potatoes will rot faster.
- Do not choose greening potatoes. Potatoes with a greenish color means it was not stored in a dark place. Greening potatoes taste bitter.
It is best to make sure that you are cooking and serving good quality potatoes at all times. When eaten, rotten or spoiled potatoes can cause some health hazards. If potatoes are left at room temperature for long periods of time, they become breading grounds of Salmonella (a bacteria).
You may experience some vomiting and nausea. The same holds true with potato salad which becomes a breeding ground of the Shingella bacteria. After about 2 days of eating contaminated potato salad you will be experiencing headaches, stomach pains and even fever.
The E Coli bacteria breeds on potatoes that have not been washed well before cooking. Diarrhea is the most common effect. A bacteria called Staphylococcus caused by improper food handling and cooking of potatoes can cause chills and fever.
Potatoes basically have long shelf life when stored properly. Buying, storing, preparing ,cooking, and storing cooked potatoes in the proper way will always bring out the versatility, delicious taste and texture of potatoes – the most loved vegetable of all times.
I always make it a point to buy potatoes for a 2 week supply, sometimes even more. I store my potatoes in the pantry in cute baskets. How do you store your potatoes? Share with us your thoughts in the comments section.